Danny Shum Chap-shing made good on a vow to the owners of Regency Legend at Sha Tin on Sunday, taking out the Class One HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup (1,200m) for the fourth time to get his season off to a customary flying start.
Regency Legend produced a performance that left a beaming Shum dreaming of success on the biggest day in Hong Kong racing – international day on the second Sunday in December.
“I made the promise half a year ago that he would win the Chief Executive’s Cup,” Shum said of his four-year-old sprinter.
“He’s very good at 1,200m, it’s his best distance and hopefully he can go on to the international races.
“He should get in [to the Hong Kong Sprint], I think they will give him eight [ratings points] and that will put him on 111.”
Shum has a history of quick starts and Sunday was no different, with Regency Legend one of two winners to give the veteran trainer an opening-day double for the third time in four years.
After sitting outside leader Styling City in the run, jockey Zac Purton pulled the trigger 350m from home and Regency Legend powered into the lead and coasted to victory.
It was the lightly raced gelding’s fourth win from as many starts in Hong Kong and marked the perfect return from an seven-month absence from the racetrack.
Regency Legend will likely run in the Group Two BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint (1,200m) on November 17 before pushing onto the Group One sprint on international day.
“I’d like the thank the owners, they gave me a lot of support and patience because he hurt his left hind [earlier this year],” Shum said.
“It made me really worried and the owners all worried about him, so when he was OK I said ‘no rush, keep him sound’. He’ll run in one more race in November, I’ll keep him fresh.”
And Shum is confident that should everything go to plan in getting Regency Legend to his grand final, the horse will not be making up the numbers.
“I think [he can win], it depends on the field and the draw. I hope Zac is on board, the horse likes him,” Shum said.
Shum trained the quinella in the feature, with Seasons Bloom producing an eye-catching run to finish a length and a half behind Regency Legend and suggest he has still got something to offer as a seven-year-old.
It was a fruitful day for Shum and Purton, with the pair hitting the board in the very first race of the new season when Good Runners Way took out the Class Five Mount Butler Handicap (1,600m).
And we're racing! Champion jockey @zpurton picks up where he left off, taking the first race of the new season on the Danny Shum-trained Good Runners Way. #HKracing #SeasonOpener pic.twitter.com/Sn73J8GqsA— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) September 1, 2019
Purton had to dig deep to get Good Runners Way home ahead of the charging Regency Gem, with the five-year-old notching his first win at start 12.
After Purton snared two of the first three races it seemed very much like business as usual for the reigning champion jockey but it didn’t go all his way after that, with the Australian only able to produce seconds on Dancing Fighter, Mr Croissant and World Famous.
His countryman Blake Shinn also landed three seconds – including Seasons Bloom – but was unable to breakthrough for his first Hong Kong winner, however he showed he is right at home in his new surrounds.